Submerged mastodon may provide clues to ancient mysteries
Eight feet below the surface of the Wakulla River lies the remains of a mastodon covered in sediment. And within that sediment could be the artifact that unlocks the mysteries of the last chapter of the Pleistocene Age.
For about 12 days, a team of archaeologists from the Aucilla Research Institute has used the floating swim dock at Wakulla Springs as a staging area for their underwater excavation. Theirs is a painstaking operation made difficult by the cold water, wetsuits, cumbersome diving equipment and curious manatees that are constantly moving around buoy markers.
The question is whether there is another mastodon body there. Or is there evidence of human artifacts that would suggest interaction with the mastodon?
Out of the sediment, one of the men on the dredge barge picked out a long, gray conical object, a spear point of some kind. He bagged it and brought it over to the swimming float where an assistant cataloged it, inventoried it and performed tests on it. It just may prove to be the clue they were looking for.
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Fish story: How a coelacanth discovery set off a flurry of science, subterfuge
by OLIVIA DESMIT
The 1938 discovery of a coelacanth is an oft-told tale.
This species of fish was thought to have been extinct for 65 million years when one was caught in the western Indian Ocean. Lesser known is the tale of a coelacanth sighting thousands of miles away in the mid-1990s, when one was spotted for sale at an Indonesian fish market by a marine biologist on his honeymoon.The story of that discovery — and how it was told to the world — is filled with shocking twists and turns. At the center of it all was Mark Erdmann, now vice president of Asia-Pacific Marine Programs at Conservation International.Joe Rowlett recounted the story in this recent post on Reefs.com.
In July 2018, another population of Indonesian coelacanths was discovered in Raja Ampat in the eastern fringe of the country, but Erdmann — the honeymooner who had spotted the fish in the ’90s — was not surprised.
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